TPF 2019 Tourney: Feedback Discussion Thread


@diehardpinball Thanks for the kudos as well as the constructive feedback. I appreciate both.

Thank you for being an active and vocal participant in the crowd. I loved the atmosphere and crowd participation. WOW!

Sorry to hear, but understandable. We’ll be revisiting how we handle having a Classics side tourney. I’m even toying with removing it entirely, but based on the overwhelming and growing # of participants, it’s clear that having an additional tourney is desirable… but it was never my intent to have MORE people in that one than the Main. I intentionally kept it a low $ entry (trying to attract LESS $$ for it), and based on original design (16 finalists) it isn’t even 100% TGP. The goal was to have another tourney option for both those players that show up at the event who didn’t have a spot in Wizards, and those Wizards players that would rather spend more time competing than checking out the Show.

Limited Entry is also an option. In theory, I like the balance of the Main being Limited and the Side being Unlimited. But in reality, the Side turns out to be Limited due to time and queue length.

Sorry that this was a let-down. But I think this was limited to major issues on 3 pins out of 22. And I share in your disappointment on those few that were not in the shape that was expected. We’ll be discussing ideas/steps of how we can mitigate this from happening in the future.
F-14 R saucer/VUK was a nightmare, and chattering upper R flipper that had to be fixed twice.
Mars Trek not awarding Double Bonus with E-K was another one that really ticked me off, but we didn’t catch it until mid-way through qualifying, and confirmed it hadn’t been working for anyone. MT was a pin that arrived much later than expected on Thursday night, and we only had time to flipper test, switch tested, and score reel test. The owner ran into logistics issues, but let us know about the extra 10K it was awarding in bonus on every ball, which wasn’t an issue. I didn’t think to test the E-K double bonus logic with the little time we had.
Cleopatra started doing the score skipping from P1 to P4 reel during qualifying, and after quick assessment from an EM expert, they said the fix would require a complete replacement of player stepper/relay, so we decided to have the score be added from P4 reel, because it still scored correctly in total on the rare occasions it did this.

In terms of setup: what specifics on game setup would have been better? Always looking to try and improve here. We had a list of setups that we followed based on our personal experience as well as game notes, and tweaked them based on how the pins were playing.

We’ve received both negative and positive feedback on being in the 3 connected conference rooms vs the portion of the ballroom we had in prior years. I agree that it was cramped in areas, and felt cramped. Thanks for the ideas. Yes, one option we’ll be looking at is having all the pins on the one external wall – though this would cost us our audience viewing area in proximity to the pins that made for the electrifying finals fun. I don’t foresee us regaining a comparable space in the ballroom due to the popularity and growth of the Festival.
Good idea about registration desk being in the hallway – something to consider. Although it would mean having to move it each morning an evening, because the room gets locked up overnight, while the hallway is only patrolled by security. And there’s no way I’m leaving my two personal laptops in a hallway.

As your feedback already mentioned: one of the difficulties a Festival tourney faces is dealing with contributed exhibitor pins from all over the state of TX (and surrounding states), with limited time to get 22 pins ready over a span of roughly 4-10 hours. The way that we’ve identified to handle this is by putting the pins through the paces of having people play them in a competitive situation, in terms of ensuring everything works, and holds up over a couple hours of play (at least on the few that were played as part of the event). Other major tournaments also use this approach, but TPF doesn’t have the luxury of holding such competitive play bullet-proofing over many weeks leading up to the event, so we use the option available to us. And as mentioned by others, it helped identify a whole host of changes that needed to be made: Demo Man flippers had to be rebuilt, F-14 saucer had to be tweaked (which ended up being a recurring them), Cleo needed to be changed to 3-ball because it played too long as 5-ball, Iron Maiden had Mummy ball registration issues, numerous tilt settings (and some tilts that weren’t registering consistently that needed capacitor replacement), etc, etc, etc. Had we not had people playing them, there would have been a greater number of condition/setup issues.

Thanks again for attending, sharing your enthusiasm with others, and taking the time to provide feedback.


It’s a good idea to consider it we want to try the “flight” match play format that NWPAS uses. Thanks for the suggestion. I agree that match play is more fun than best-game qualifying.

As Raymond mentioned, the unusually long lines were mostly on the Classics.
With the electronic queuing and text message service, by design, people also had the option to go enjoy some of the show while they waited in queues (after 5pm on Friday, and during Saturday). Kudos to Karl’s software that allows for this.

If we stick with best-game format, do you have any other ideas on how to alleviate this lowlight, both in actuality and perception? One other idea is to make the games’ setups a lot harder (faster) to reduce game time, but I’m also trying to balance players feeling like they had a fair chance to play an entry, given Limited Entry format. So we kept ball-saves on, didn’t have hair-trigger tilts, and didn’t remove all in/outlane area rubbers on games like Maiden and CV.


My TD math just wanted me to check that…
15 hours of unlimited qualifying 15%
4 games counting for qualifying 16%
3 rounds of 4 players game 72%


You’re right. Sorry.
I was thinking about how TGP was less than 25 (it’s 22)… but that’s before the unlimited qualifying hours kicker.


Here’s a nutty idea: run finals for classics and wizards concurrently or otherwise incentivize participating in just one event.

I realize that most Wizards players currently participate in both but it really does kill your chances of participating in much of the rest of the show and I think it would be nice if classics was a more walk-in friendly event that wasn’t saturated with top 50 players. Maybe something different from most of the tourney-centric shows is more appropriate for TPF since there’s so much going on.

This is meant as a what if and not real criticism. The tourney was and has been really great!


I’d probably consider raising the price and going limited for classics as well to keep the prize pool interesting and keep the lines down. I’m sure people would love to have both tournaments still while avoiding insane lines.

I’m also one of the few who would prefer the tournament be in the main show hall as I think it benefits tournament pinball to be seen by the public, and I think it benefits tournament players to be forced to socialize with other humans.

The game selection was creative and interesting, I’m sure people will be talking about Team One for a while. It’s kind of a terrible game to own as it’s ugly as sin and whether or not it’s on add-a-ball games last forever, but it really provided gripping tournament drama and excitement in that room!


It wasn’t set to add balls, though. Right?


If you want Pump and Dump, unlimited entry you have to add more games no question, in fact you need to add at least 4 more games to make that format more viable. The other option is to run the classics into day 2 as well to spread it out a little, but with the amount of people registered I am not so sure that would have even made a difference.

You can limited entry into the tournament to your wizards entry, where it gets you pre-registered for Wizards Limited and Classics pump and dump. That will limit the tournament to the 150 mark and be more reasonable on the lines.

If you want change the format a little you can run your classics in flights and move to match play format, or a target match play format that DTM has available.

Lastly, if you want the pump and dump and you are limited on machines, then you could run pump and dump flights, this is very hard to administer thou where you are given a four hour flight time when you can qualify and you hand these out upon registration (Do in flights of 50-60). Honestly due to all of the people and the quality control with scorekeepers might be hard to pull off. Could put the times on wristband and that has to be shown before score is entered.

In a limited entry format had no issue with the setup of machines to be more liberal, but some games were just plain easy like F-14, all of the mechs needed to be adjusted to give you a proper setup for at least slings and bumpers to present the player with at least a little danger. The Modern Machine were good on setup, the Solid States were good except for F-14, I would have liked to see a better juiced spinner on Meteor, as I hit that thing a number of times and still had only 600K, would have been 1.6M in PAPA lol. The 2 EM’s (Cleo, MT) were the main issue with some major issues with scoring and features not working. I have never been a big fan of having an extra ball in qualifying play even on classics machines mainly due to trying to speed up the ques. I actually liked the rule set on Mars Trek to eliminate because it forced you shoot the scoop to reset it, I know this was done by accident but it made the game better, the main issue with that game was a weak right flipper and the extra ball being turned on for playoffs especially. Again I felt there could have been more sling and pop bumper adjustment if given the time to get them a little more action.

Overall thou great job, and thanks for being open to improvements, I really enjoyed myself and glad I made the trip out!!!


Limited entry will not solve the Classics line issue. I’ve been to enough events to know that the primary driver is participants divided by machine count. [There’s more to it, but that would be a really long post.] The fact that Classics is one-day-qualifying-only forces everyone who wants to play it to get all of their entries in Friday and hope that they have time to play their Main entries Saturday. INDISC had about the same number of participants in Classics as TPF, but we had 12 games, not 8, and less down time than those 8 did [maybe 11.8 vs. 7.3 effective game counts]. PAPA, back in the day, had 12 games and then raised it to 16 to keep things under control. Limiting Classics entries will not remove the incentive to play your Classics games first, given you can still play Main Saturday. Yes, some people like me mixed up their entries between the two Friday, but you’ve got to focus on whatever has the earlier cutoff.

Expanding to mid-day Saturday does not fix it either if Main still has a later cutoff. The only way to get people out of Classics lines and into Main lines is to make it equally desirable to be in either. And then there’s still the issue of what that does to the lines in Main, i.e. are we just going from 16 in Classics and 6 in Main to 10 in each?

Given the obvious popularity of Classics, I’d definitely not remove it; the player count tells you that people want it!

Flights isn’t a great solve since what do you do if a machine is down for one flight but not others? Hi, sorry, you can’t play Joker Poker, but the people in the first flight could? Or the flippers get soft as play goes on so that people in later flights can’t get as good scores as the earlier ones. It would only be feasible if you took playoff participants separately from each flight, e.g. top 6 or 8 from 9-1, 1-5, 5-9 and 9-1. But that would make for highly unbalanced opportunity, e.g. what if most of the top players were all in one or two flights? The “field” players in those flights would be at a big disadvantage to field players in other flights, and any top players in the “lighter” flights would have an edge…

I’ll be giving this further thought for how to fix it, but I’d suggest not making any final decisions for quite a while, other than looking for ways to increase the machine count. Even if you have to $$ incentivize people to contribute games; a $5K prize pool could withstand $50 a game [besides show entry] for folks bringing good games…


Correct. Whether or not it’s on add a ball games last forever.

Add a ball on that game is interminable!

Always thought it was one of Gottliebs worst games but undeniably people had fun with it at TPF.


Ugly doesn’t matter in tournaments, I guess. With AAB off, rules are only slightly different from Abra Ca Dabra, and everybody loves that one.

As far as reliability and setup for classics games, I’ll join the choir in saying that the degree of difficulty for classics setup when sourcing games from the public is significantly higher than sourcing modern machines. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to do it, or that we all can’t try for perfection, but… it’s just really tough. Kudos for all the work that went into these events.


Hmmmm, I know at least one person who’d strongly disagree with you with respect to Team One… (me) :joy::sob:


In my guide, I list Team One as a good tournament [and learning] game since it greatly rewards precision drop target shooting. Teaches you to strategize which ball you want the flipper on next at all times. Main drawback is how little there is to the playfield.



It can be all of those things and still terrible!




A local league guy has one and it was always a go-to for me since no one had any idea how to play it, heh. That’s starting to change, though.

I dunno, I think they’re pretty majorly different. Novelty (50K) scoring obviously makes the whole goal change, since most stuff is worthless compared to that, but I kind of prefer the always-5000 bonus lights compared to having to build them up via 1234.


On the main banks The queues where no worse than any other event that I’ve been to and I easily managed to complete my 20 games by lunch time on Saturday.

The classics where harder I agree and I didn’t play anywhere near the total games I’d bought but to be honest the classics where more of a side show for me but I thought the game choice for the main and classics was fantastic!



Saw the scores posted to IFPA the classics is ok but the main seems to be corrupt somehow with it sitting in my past tourneys and 0 points - seems to be like that for everyone. @pinwizj FYI.


SPC events get flagged to not award WPPR’s until the SPC fees are paid. As soon as @chesh gives us the green light we’ll turn those points on.


This is how we ended up running the second largest pinball tournament in the world, while finals for the largest tournament in the world are happening.


Hey Neil, WPPR Points should be live but I demanded you not get any. :slightly_smiling_face: